For more than 50 years people around the globe have celebrated Earth Day on April 22. Today, we celebrate with more than a billion people in nearly 200 countries, highlighting the environment and the importance of building a healthy, sustainable planet.
While City Light has delivered renewable hydropower for more than a century and we have the longest-running energy conservation program in the nation, our stewardship of the environment requires a daily focus. Our commitment is reflected in our core values and honored through the City of Seattle’s Resolution 30144, enacted in 2000 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Earth Day. It is our duty and our greatest source of pride to provide our customers with clean, affordable, reliable, and environmentally responsible energy services. And that duty continues to test us in new ways, from the economic impacts of the pandemic to the environmental and socio-economic challenges posed by climate change.
We protect and improve the environment by producing clean renewable energy and through programs targeted at salmon recovery and wildlife habitat enhancement along our power lines. And our stewardship extends beyond the natural environment to include preserving cultural resources and legacies, ensuring equity in our energy planning, and addressing environmental justice by identifying and targeting benefits to underserved communities.
Last week, City Light earned a spot on the nonprofit Smart Electric Power Alliance’s (SEPA) 2021 Utility Transformation Leaderboard for our efforts to embrace the transition to a clean and modern energy future.
We must build on this record through key activities such as transportation electrification to decarbonize the transportation sector and grid modernization to build the grid as a platform to enable sustainable energy choices in partnership with our customers and communities.
Our transportation system is responsible for 60% of Seattle’s climate pollution. Last fall, the Seattle City Council passed City Light’s Transportation Electrification Strategic Investment Plan (TESIP) – an important step in committing resources and making investments to enable a once-in-a-century transformation of the Seattle area’s transportation ecosystem.
Based on community feedback, the plan sets the priorities for future transportation electrification programs and services and describes how the utility will bolster and modernize our electric grid to enable public transit charging, support freight and commercial fleets, and provide flexibility for personal mobility.
For instance, City Light is working with key partners such as King County Metro and Washington State Ferries to study, plan for, and build the necessary electrical infrastructure to support public transit electrification. Accessible electrified public transit was identified as a top priority for both community leaders and stakeholder groups. Electrifying buses will benefit communities that rely most on public transit and will reduce air and noise pollution where impacts are greatest.
In the last year, we’ve installed several new public electric vehicle (EV) fast chargers in the city and opened an EV charging station in Tukwila in January. By the end of the year, City Light will have more than 26 EV fast chargers operating throughout our service area, delivering community-focused transportation solutions that meet customer needs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and decrease air pollution.
Finally, with a focus on grid modernization, City Light is preparing the grid for a fully electrified future—including the electrification of transportation and buildings—and helping position the region to withstand growing climate impacts. We are focused on technology investments that enable our energy generation, transmission, and distribution systems to automatically adjust to changing conditions—whether for outage response, the utilization of distributed energy resources, or enhanced power management.
Thanks to your commitment and contributions, we are redefining electricity services. With your help we will continue to lead the way to a healthy future that is pollution-free, equitable, and sustainable, protecting and preserving the environment for today and for future generations!